(iStock)

About a year ago I wrote about how a massive wave of retiring baby-boomer business owners — a “silver tsunami” — could, because of a lack of succession planning, cause the loss of millions of jobs as businesses close.

Business owners in some parts of the country, particularly those in more rural areas, are finding that a decreasing number of younger people are willing to take on the family business once Mom and Dad retire. One solution is employee ownership.  If more owners sold their businesses to their employees, then jobs could be saved and retirement for them could be more comfortable. Statistics have also shown that employees work harder, are paid more and are better prepared for their retirement when they share in the ownership of a business.

But there’s a problem: money. Getting the financing to do this is not easy. But a House bill that passed this week may help address this problem.

It’s called the Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018. The legislation, which received unanimous approval from the House Small Business Committee, would provide support for employee stock ownership plans as well as for updating the Small Business Administration’s lending practices so that the SBA can better help employee groups get the assistance and financing they need to purchase ownership in their companies.

According to a report from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, a Senate version of the bill was also introduced this week by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“Supporting employee owned businesses constitutes a great jobs policy,” J. Michael Keeling, president of the ESOP Association, an advocacy group for employee stock ownership plans said in a news release. “These companies are 7.3 times more likely to retain workers than conventionally owned firms.”